News East West
NEW YORK: US Army Major Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 people and wounded 30 when he went on a shooting spree at Fort Hood military base in Texas in November 2009, was on Wednesday sentenced to death.
A 13-member military panel had last week found him guilty of all 32 charges related to the premeditated murders.
A psychiatrist with the US Army, Major Hasan went on the shooting spree to protest American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Hasan was to be deployed to Afghanistan soon when he went on the killing spree – dubbed as the worst terrorist attack on US soil after 9/11.
Hasan, 42, who was born to Palestinian immigrants in Virginia, said he killed American soldiers to protect Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.
Acting as his own lawyer, Hasan said in his defence, “Evidence will show I was on the wrong side of America’s war and I later switched sides. We in the mujahideen are imperfect beings trying to establish a perfect religion.’’
Hasan, who was paralyzed when he was shot in the back by first responders and is confined to a wheelchair, had said,
“I’m paraplegic and could be in jail for the rest of my life. However, if I died by lethal injection, I would still be a martyr.”
But Col. Mike Mulligan, a military prosecutor, said before the death sentence was announced, “He will not now and he will never be a martyr. This is not his gift to God. This is his debt to society. This is the cost of his murderous rampage.”
Hasan joins five other US soldiers who are on death row at Fort Leavenworth. The US has not carried out any military execution since 1961.
Because of the lengthy appeals process, it could be decades before Hasan is given the lethal injection.